No Strings Attached

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CNet has an article about the new Napster flat fee service, which I have to take issue with.

Now, I could not care less about the Napster service, or really about iTunes either. But I have to disagree with the line in the article that says "Apple's approach is to charge 99 cents for each song downloaded. But you own the music, no strings attached."

Really? Is this some new version of iTunes that doesn't restrict you to only playing the music on a few machines associated with you by their DRM? Is it a new version that sells songs that don't stop working the moment that you decide you don't want to use an iPod anymore? Maybe it's a new version that will let you sell or give a song that you have purchased to someone else?

No? I didn't think so. At least with the Napster service you are getting what you pay for - limited access to all the songs in their library for the duration of your subscription. Apple on the other hand is selling, for an upfront fee of $0.99 the right to use a single specific song, on the hardware of their choice (which you have to buy from them), under whatever limitations they feel like imposing on you - forever. You can't sell your songs to someone else if you decide to get rid of your iPod, you can't even give them away. You own nothing.

Which is fine, since a lot of people seem to be okay with this deal with the devil. Shame on CNet though for claiming there are "No Strings Attached".

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Burn your iTMS-purchased music to a CD. Play it anywhere, anytime without any restrictions in perpetuity. Just like an old-fashioned store-bought music CD.

What the h*ll are you going on about?

I agree absolutely with the point you are making about the CNET article but Apples DRM is easily worked around...

Just burn your iTunes songs to a CD and then the DRM doesn't work anymore on the CD copy. Give that copy to a friend...or RIP it back into iTunes minus the DRM restrictions. Since Apple uses 128kbit encoding there appears to be no quality loss - at least to my ears (and virtually all my iPod owning friends).

Amen! I'm glad someone had the good sense to finally poke a few holes in the claim that Apple's shit don't stink.

I'm a fan of Napster's service (though not their recent lousy advertising), and it really irks me to see folks hooting in derision about the service while praising iTunes.

There actually are restrictions on what you are allowed to do with that CD that you burn from an I-Tunes song - maybe not in reality, but according to the licensing agreement that you signed, you can't give it to anyone else, you are not allowed to re-rip it to MP3, and a number of other things. I am not saying that you can't, and that people don't, I'm just saying that when you "buy" something from I-Tunes, you don't actually own anything. You have a license that, as you have already agreed to when you "bought" the music, can be changed anytime that Apple decides that it wants to, and that already contains lot's of legal restrictions on what you are allowed to do it it - far more than buying a physical CD. That's why I buy CDs, not digital music. I like owning things (although, of course, I only own the media, not that actual songs, but I am allowed to sell, loan, or give away the media and it's contents, just not the content independant of the media).

Try this as a test to see if you won anything - download an albums worth of music from I-Tunes, and burn it to CD. Now delete all copies that you own of the music other than the burnt copy.

Take that copy and put it up for sale on Ebay, with an explanation that you destroyed all other copies of the music and are offering this for sale as your only copy of the music in question, tranferring all rights to the new owner.

Before the day is out Apple will shut down your auction, because, according to the license you agreed to, you don't have the right to transfer ownership of your music in any way.

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This page contains a single entry by edgore published on February 3, 2005 2:17 PM.

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